Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gratituesday - Homeschool Support Group

Our local homeschool group had our monthly mom's planning meeting this evening. I can't begin to express the joy it brings me to have so many wonderful mothers attend these meetings. I never could have dreamed when I founded our little group five years ago that it would grow to have such an important impact on my family.

I am so grateful for every family in our group. Each one of them holds a special place in my heart. Each one of them bring something unique and inspiring to the group. We are all different - in our family organization and size, in our teaching philosophy and methods, in our beliefs and ideals, in our interest and talents. But these differences strengthen our little group. We challenge one another and learn from each other. We agree to disagree on certain things and don't let it interfere with what is truly important. And that is our children and families. Each and every one of these families have their children as a most vital priority. And this, I am sad to say, is severely lacking in our society today.

So today I am grateful for all the wonderful families God had brought into my family's life through our little homeschool group. They encourage me. They strengthen me. They challenge me. They inspire me. I can honestly say I am a better person, wife, mom and teacher because of them.

You all know who you are. Thank you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Weeks Menu

Breakfast: Pancakes (I am going to try substituting whole wheat and soaking this recipe)
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy, Egg Noodles & Corn

Breakfast: Green Smoothies & Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Toast
Lunch: Popcorn Chicken (thanks to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers), Cauliflower
Dinner: Mexican Rice and Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers & Cornbread

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Toast
Lunch: Tuna Melts & Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes & Broccoli

Breakfast: Oatmeal & Fruit
Lunch: Mac & Cheese & Apple Slices
Dinner: Chicken of some sort

Breakfast: Cold Cereal
Lunch: Picnic for all - Mom's at Grand Jury Duty again
Dinner: Lasagna from the freezer, Garlic Bread & Salad

Breakfast: Waffles & Sausage
Lunch: Pizza Hut The girls are using their Book It coupons!
Dinner: Haddock with Spinach & Tomatoes, Orzo

Breakfast: Bagel & Yogurt
Lunch: Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots & Celery

For more menus and recipes stop by Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Little Green Project - Sandwich Wraps

We have been trying to cut back in the waste and garbage that our family produces. One of the main areas we have been focusing on is the kitchen. We have gone to cloth napkins, glass storage containers, and stainless water bottles. However, it has been hard to pack picnic lunches for all our homeschool outing without baggies and plastic wrap. I didn't like glass containers for the kids when we were out and about and the stainless sets I have seen have been very expensive. So when I saw these adorable reusable sandwich wraps I just knew we would have to make one for everyone in the family. So now I have another sewing project to add to the list.

For more green living ideas stop by Heavenly Homemakers Little Green Project.

AWESOME Preschool Giveaway!

The Itty-Bitty Bookworm

Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations has an awesome giveaway going on right now. Just leave a comment and you wil be entered to win a entire year of Itty-Bitty Bookworms' 3-5 year old curriculum.

If you have never heard of Itty-Bitty Bookworm you must head over to their site and check them out. Their curriculum is litterature based and includes activities for all subjects and all learning styles. Jolanthe has links to tons of samples. And Itty-Bitty Bookworm's site as lot more, including free prinables.

Don't forget to leave a comment and good luck!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sourdough Bread

One of the lovely ladies at church gave me some sourdough starter. The girls and I have had a wonderful time experimenting with it. First we made two delicious loaves of light not to sour sourdough. The girls have been begging me to me to make cinnamon raisin swirl bread. So when our started was ready to make more bread we did a loaf of plain and one of cinnamon raisin. You can see by the picture that my cinnamon raisin needs a little help. I had a little trouble rolling the dough thin enough to get a good swirl of cinnamon and raisin. I'm not sure if it was the dough or the fact that I was making it too late at night. I ended up baking it at 3 o'clock am when Rebekah decided she needed the entire bed and kicked me out. It was a good thing actually, because if it had risen until I got up this morning I think it would have been a mess. And waking up to bread only a few hours old was fabulous. We had the cinnamon raisin as toast to go along with our green smoothies for breakfast.

Next batch I want to try to make rolls. I am hoping I will be able to freeze them after the first rising and have the second rising take place while they thaw. This will make it easy to have fresh baked rolls anytime. I'll let you know how they turn out.

I would share the recipe, but I don't know how to make the starter. If you are local and would like some I would be happy to share. Just let me know.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Last week I was hanging out at a friend's house will all the little children while she took her older boys and my girls on a homeschool field trip. Thumbing through one of her magazines I came across a recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup. It sounded tasty and I had all the ingredients including the three pints of organic cherry tomatoes. I just knew I had to give it a try. The weather has gotten a little warmer, but there is still a chill in the air, so soup would be a good lunch this week.
  • 6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup whipping cream (I used half & half)

First heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl toss the cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots. This should take about 40-50 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large soup pot melt the butter and add the garlic and onion. Saute' over medium heat for about 6 minutes until they are soft. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes including any juice on the pan.

Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 40 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree until it's smooth. You can see this was almost too much for my food processor. Next time I think I will do it in two batches.

Put the soup back in the soup pot. Stir in the cream. Warm the soup over medium heat being careful not to let it boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here is our tasty lunch. It was wonderful and very tomatoey. (Is that even a word?) This is a great base recipe. You could easily change the herbs and spices to make this suit our pallet. I'm thinking basil and oregano for a more Italian flavor. Then garnish it with Parmesan cheese. You could also go Mexican adding taco seasoning, salsa and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips instead of crackers. And of course you could make a wonderful CORN (clean out the refrigerator night) soup with this be adding all the leftover veggies, pasta, and rice from the week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Little Book Worm

Rebekah has always loved books and being read to. We often find her "reading" a book on the couch, in a chair, or on her bed. But we have never found her on the bookshelf. That was until today!

She cleared off the bottom shelf, grabbed herself a pillow and curled up with her favorite book. I guess she wanted to be within reach to grab another when she was through with the first.

I love that all my children love to read. I think reading to them early, family read alouds, and home educating them has helped instill this in them. Of course it doesn't hurt that they see mom with her nose in a book frequently as well.

It is my hope that they will always find enjoyment in the word of books.

Bathroom Redo - Finished!

As promised here are the pictures of the completed bathroom redo. Sorry they aren't better. It is a really small space and hard to photograph. If you want to see what the bathroom looked like check it out here.

Above you can see the new light fixture and storage shelve. We all have a basket to keep our toiletries in. I hope this helps keep the bathroom more organized. You can also see how beautiful the door came out. We stripped all the old paint off it and finished it. I just love old wood.

Below you get a good look at the floor and new bath mats.

Here is a better picture of the storage shelve and baskets. You can also see the vanity and mirror that we painted.

Here are the towel bars. These were such a steal at TJ Max. Only $5.00 each! I tried to get another one, but they were sold out. Oh well!

All that is left is to make the shower curtain. You can see the fabric we pick out here.

This Weeks Menu

Breakfast: Green Smoothies, Sourdough Toast
Lunch: Mac & Cheese, Apple Slices
Dinner: Baked Potato Bar with all the fixings

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Toast
Lunch: Tuna Melts, Carrot & Celery Sticks
Dinner: BBQ Chicken Legs, Fried Potatoes, Green Beans

Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins
Lunch: Nachos
Dinner: Lasagna, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread

Breakfast: Pancakes & Sausage
Lunch: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Dinner: buffalo Chicken Enchiladas & Mexi Rice

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit
Lunch: Fish sticks, Corn
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: French Toast, Bacon
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Fish & Chips, Cole Slaw

Breakfast: Bagels, Yogurt
Lunch: Soup and Sandwich Fellowship at Church
Dinner: Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots

Stop by Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Maple Sugaring!

Spring is almost here and that means it's maple sugaring time. The days are warm and the nights are still cold~perfect for sap collection. The girls were excited to head out with dad to tap the sugar maples in the yard.

They tapped four trees and already the sap is flowing. The girls are collecting sap morning, noon, and night. It takes a LOT of sap to make maple syrup. 10 gallons of sap boil down to a quart of maple syrup. But boy is it worth it.

If you look closely at this picture you can see the drop of sap falling. There is about an inch of sap in the bucket here. We already have about 3 gallons of sap. We collected that in one day. So hopefully by the weekend we will have more than 10 gallons. We plan to boil the sap over the weekend. This is another long and sticky project. We'll be doing it outside with everyone taking turns.
And of course we will be having pancakes with maple syrup on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Anyone?

Or should I say mud season? The weather is finally getting a little warmer and we are all excited to get out in the sunshine. Rebekah and Owen are having a blast stompin' and splashin' in the mud puddles.
Hannah and Sarah thought some spring tennis sounded like a good idea. I love this action shot. They had fun, but mom got a few more grey hairs as they played in the road. Luckily we live in a very quiet neighborhood.

However, as you can see, we still have a LOT of snow. Which means we will have a LOT more mud. My only request is that I will be able to put my vegetable garden in the ground May 1st. We will be starting our seeds inside very soon. But that is another post.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ten P's in a Pod FREE Aduio Download!

Our family received this audio book this past Christmas. We have already listened to it more than a couple of time and have enjoyed it very much. The stories are inspiring as well as humorous. It is a wonderful family story that I highly recommend. Well, knowing all this you could imagine my surprise when I learned that Behemoth was giving away for FREE not one tract, but the entire book! This is a deal too good to pass up and I just had to share it with all of you. You can down load the file to your computer, burn it to CD, or add it to your iPod or mp3. You wont be sorry to have this inspiring story of a pioneer homeschool Christan family.

But hurry! This FREE deal wont last long. Just follow the link above and add Ten P's in a Pod to your cart. If you don't have an account, creating one is quick and easy. And remember to visit Behemoth regularly. They have a couple of FREE tracts everyday. Be on the look out for the Jonathon Park tracts! They are wonderful and your family will learn so much from them.

Ranch Seasoned Oven Fries

These oven fries have quickly become a family favorite. They are so easy and yummy! And even better they are frugal and healthy to boot.
  • six potatoes
  • olive oil
  • homemade ranch seasoning mix

Wash potatoes and cut into wedges. Toss with olive oil and about 2Tbsp of ranch seasoning mix. Arrange in a single layer on a pan that has been coated with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes flipping potatoes about half way through.

Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp seasoning salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme

Mix all ingredients together and use as a substitute for ranch seasoning packets. The above recipe makes about the equivalent of three envelopes. It is SO much cheaper and better for you. We made a double batch and store in a glass jar. That way it is always ready to make fries or dip.

This Week's Menu

Breakfast: Green Smoothies & Banana Bread
Lunch: Tuna Melts, Carrot Sticks & Apple Slices
Dinner: Chicken Divan & Cesar Salad

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
Lunch: Ski Day Picnic
Dinner: Crock Pot Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy, Brown Rice & Green Beans

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Toast
Lunch: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Dinner: Haddock with Spinach & Orzo

Breakfast: Crepes with Ricotta Cheese Filling and Fruit
Lunch: Nachos
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, Cole Slaw & Homemade Seasoned Fries

Breakfast: Green Smoothies
Lunch: Picnic (We are headed to a Maple Sugaring Demonstration)
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: French Toast and Sausage
Dinner: BBQ Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Sweet Potato Fries

Breakfast: Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Lunch: Lasagna, Garlic Bread & Salad
Dinner: Left Overs after church

For more menu planning ideas and recipes visit $5 Dinner for this weeks Menu Planning Monday.

Daddy's Little Helper

I posted a few weeks ago that we were redoing our upstairs bathroom. As we have an old house, 110 years or so, no project is ever as easy as it should be. The bathroom is no exception. So in the end our weekend project turned into almost a month! And to be honest, the help Rebekah was so eager to give might have actually slowed us down.

Rebekah thought all of the tools were toys! She had a great time hammering, scraping, painting, and more. Above she is using the screwdriver to help dad ripping out the old floor. As you might have guessed by her outfit, she should be sleeping!

Below you can see the two of them hard at work in the respective corners. I had to keep them separated as they didn't play all that nice together. Actually, they played nice but didn't get a lot done.

The bathroom is now done except for the shower curtain. I had to special order the fabric and it hasn't arrived yet. It is a hard space to photograph, but I will try to get after photos posted soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gingerbread Pancakes

I'm letting you know up front that this is one of those crazy healthy recipes I come up with every now and then. But as usual I promise they are yummy and your family wont know that what they are eating is good for them.

These pancakes are a wonderful alternative to your everyday run of the mill pancakes. They are perfect to serve for a holiday or special breakfast, but so easy to make. They are also wonderful cold as a snack. Selena and Sarah couldn't stop eating them until they were gone!

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, kefir, yogurt or alternative acid medium
2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup kamut
1/2 cup oats
( or approximately 2 1/4 cup flour )

1. Combine the above ingredients in your blender and blend for 3 minutes if using whole grain, or 1 minute if using flour. If you are using flour, you may just want to combine with a mixer. Cover and allow to sit for 12-24 hours. If you are new to soaking your grains check out Sue Gregg's explanation or Sally Fallon's information.

2. In the morning, add the following ingredients and blend for 1 minute.

1 egg
3 1/2 Tbsp molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

3. Finally, very briefly blend in the leavening ingredients below.

2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt

Prepare the pancakes on a warmed, lightly greased griddle. This recipe makes approximately 15 pancakes.

These would be fabulous served with sweet cream!

Organic Wear Make-up Deals

With all the time and research I have been putting into the food that goes in my family's mouth lately, I was intrigued by Organic Wear makeup by Physician's Formula. It is 100% free from parabens, preservatives and harsh chemicals. Sound pretty good, doesn't it?

Now I don't wear a lot of make up, but I do like to freshen up and put my best face forward most of the time. So, the deals at Rite Aid and CVS along with a coupon or two and a rebate made giving Organic Wear a deal too good to pass up.

Rite Aid had buy one get one free on all Organic Wear products. So I picked up a mascara and lip gloss. I also used a $2.00 coupon, so both items cost $7.95. You can then send in a rebate for the mascara and get the $9.95 purchase price back. So in reality they paid me $2.00 to try these. I really like the lip gloss. It smells fruity and is long lasting. It isn't drying out my lips and I don't feel like I need to continually apply more. I haven't tried the mascara yet, but I promise to let you know how it fairs.

CVS has the Organic Wear bronzers and powders on special this week. Purchase one and get a $10.00 in register rewards. The bronzer was $13.99 minus a $3.00 coupon. So with the register rewards I paid 99 cents. This I picked up today so no review yet.

For more Green ideas stop by Heavenly Homemakers. You'll find lots of green ideas from green gardening to living green, to making some green to saving some green.

Little Explorer's International Night

Our local homeschool group, Little Explorers, held its 5th annual International Night last week. It was huge success! We had 14 students representing 9 countries. The students put together displays including reports, time lines, maps, hands on projects, costumes and more. One of the high lights were the photos and video from two students who had recently been to Italy and Greece.

The night started off with a pot luck dinner. Each family brought a traditional dish or two from the country they studied. The food was AWESOME! Then the children went on a world wide scavenger hunt. Each child submitted questions about their country that could be answered from the information on their display. Everyone had a great time visiting each display and answering all the questions. A few even brought their scavenger hunts to be graded! We ended the night with a trip around the world where all of the students brought their passports to be stamped by all the attending countries.

Above is the girls display about Ancient Greece. You can see the Minotaur Maze and the Greek Pottery they made. They included a timeline, map and lots of information about daily life. One of the most interesting parts of their display was on all of the Greek gods and goddesses which they then compared to the God of the Bible. I wish I had gotten a good picture of both the girls in their costumes. Maybe I will have to have them pose for a shot here at home.

Above is the display on Ireland. Below is another display on Greece. This family was recently in Greece and had tons of wonderful pictures and an awesome video. We should all be so lucky to visit the countries we studied.

And then there was the display on Mexico.

And finally the whole group!

Everyone did a wonderful job. It was a ton of fun. Thanks to all the guests who came and made the evening even more of a success.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gratituesday-A True Friend

Ok, I know it isn't Tuesday, but I didn't want to let this slip by. This week is one of those crazy weeks were your schedule keeps changing faster than you can mark it on your calendar. Doug's schedule has him double booked twice this week, which leaves me to cover a dinner and breakfast shift for him. Of course that leave the question - who is going to cover me? Well, that is who I am so greatful for this week. Our dear and crazy friend Selena jumped at the chance to watch my children, my day care charge, and make my family dinner. What a blessing she and her boys are. With only about three hours notice she showed up early, this was great because it was snowing and I didn't know how long it would take me to get to work. So I left her with six kids three two and under in diapers. They all got naps had a great day. And to top it off when I returned home the table was set and dinner was waiting. How blessed we are to have Selena and her family in our lives.

Thanks Selena, Maverick and Jonathon!

For more inspiration check out other blogger's Gratituesday posts at Heavenly Homemakers!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wonderful Walgreens!

Walgreens was the place to shop this week. By the time I paired sale items, Walgreens coupons and manufacturer coupons most of the items above were free. I needed to complete two transactions. The first one was four packages of huggies wipes (one isn't pictured as I already gave it to a friend) and the kotex. The huggies wipes were on sale for $6.00 and I had a $5.00 coupon on each bag. The kotex was on sale for $3.00 and I had a $1.00 coupon. The total transaction was $6.00. I paid with my Walgreens Refund Gift Card, so technically no money our of pocket. And the best part - I received $10.00 in register rewards for the next purchase! So yes all those items were as good as FREE!

The second transaction included two Sense & Spray, two Scented Oil Fan air fresheners, Colgate toothpaste, shampoo, hairspray, shaving gel, three packs of gum, and shower liquid soap. This transaction came to a total of $8.40. A little short of using my register rewards from the first transaction. (They were out of some items I had planned to get) So I paid cash, but received another $5.49 in register rewards.

According to my sales receipts, before sales prices and coupons, I would have paid $92.33 for my items. My actual out of pocket cost was $8.40 and I have another $15.49 in register rewards to use on my next purchase. Now that's the way I like to shop!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homeschooling Cartoon

I still find it hard to believe that the perceived lack of socialization in homeschool students remains an issue. It really is a bunch of malarkey. Most homeschool students I know, and that is quite a few, have extremely busy social schedules. And what more they are able to interact with a wide variety of people.

We had our homeschool group's International Night last week. At the end of the night the children went off to play some group games. There were over 20 children from 2 years old to 14 years old playing all sorts of games. Everyone was included. Everyone cheered and supported each other. The older children helped the younger children. The younger children looked up to the older children. It was heart warming to see, and in complete opposition to what we see when we go to the local public school to pick up children we watch after school. On those trips it never fails that we see older children bullying younger children, clicks of children where many are left out, disrespectful and rude behavior to adults and peers, and many more disturbing behaviors.

If what we observe in the school is the type of socialization that society wants for our children, I am happy to be radically opposed and seen as different. I know that my children will be better off with the socialization skills they have learned.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Minotaur and a Maze

The girls have been having a wonderful time studying Ancient Greece. They have especially enjoyed the mythology and hero stories. One of their favorites was the story of the Minotaur and Thesus. They both have always enjoyed mazes and I think that was the allure here. They thought it would be fun to make their own labyrinth for their friends to try out at our homeschool group's international night. It was a big project with a lot of little detail, but it was a lot of fun too. Below you will see some of the construction steps they went through.

Above you can see Sarah cutting pieces for the walls. She had previously draw out the maze on the paper, and then cut along the lines into a piece of corrugated cardboard. The wall pieces slid into the slits in the cardboard.

Here Hannah is hot gluing the joints of the walls together. Earlier in the day she had painted them. If anyone is interested in making their own maze, I suggest you paint your cardboard BEFORE you cut your wall pieces. We learned the hard way and had to take the wall apart, paint it and put it back together. It was a project just to keep the pieces in order so the maze would fit back together.

Here are Thesus and the Minotaur in the finished maze. Sarah made the pieces from pictures she found on the Internet and dowels. You can move them through the maze quite easily.

Here is the completed maze. It really is cool and not to easy to solve.
Here is a supply list if you would like to give this project.
  • Lid of a copy paper box.
  • Piece of Corrugated Cardboard the same size as the box top
  • Thin Cardboard (we used cereal boxes)
  • Box Cutter
  • Paper Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Paint & Brushes
  • Dowel
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Card Stock

A hint for drawing a maze. Use two different color crayons the thickness you want your path to be. One color will be the solution. The other color will be all the wrong paths. Sarah did this and then covered it with another piece of paper, taped both pieces to the window and traced all the paths. This was what we then used to cut the paths in the corrugated cardboard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greek Pottery

The girls have been studying ancient Greece for both TOG and our local homeschool group's International Night. Here they are making Greek Pottery, only the pottery is old plastic containers and paper mache.

The girls tried a wide variety of plastic containers in all shapes and sizes to get a form that closely resembled some of the pieces of ancient Greek pottery pictured in there school books.

Paper macheing the forms was messy and a lot of fun. This step took a couple of days as we let the pieces dry overnight between the layers.

Once the paper mache was dry it was time to paint. Once again the girls looked a books and online photos to help them decide on a design.

Sarah's pot on the left depicts much of the sea life that was such an important part of Greek culture and survival. Hannah's pitcher has a geometric design. While messy and time consuming this was a great project. The girls really enjoyed it and the results are terrific! Great Job!

Gratituesday - A Good Samaritan

The girls, my day care charges, and I were out and about running errands today. Now there is nothing unusual about that. However, after stops at the post office, bank, TJ Max, Lowe's, and Walmart everyone was tired and the littles were getting cranky. So when we all piled into the car when were we finished at Walmart you can imagine my frustration when the car wouldn't start. And of course the jumper cables were NOT in the back of the van as my daring husband had used them on his van last week. So now what?

I ask the man sitting in the truck across the lane from us. No cables. I asked the man in the plow truck who had just come out of the store. No cables. Now time is ticking. I really don't want to unload all of the kids to head back into Walmart. I am trying really hard not to loose my cool as well as trying to figure out what might be wrong with the van. And all the while whispering a prayer and hoping for a quick and painless answer. Tried to start the van again - still no luck.

OK here comes another man who from his looks (coveralls and John Deer cap) might just have jumper cables. Praise God he does and is HAPPY to help a stranded woman and her brood of kids. He was pleasant, polite and actually grateful that he could be of service. How refreshing! In a day and age when most people want to be waited on, and see serving others as beneath them, it was a beautiful reminder of God's call for all of us to serve Him and each other.
So today I am grateful for those who willingly and joyfully serve when and where they see a need. And especially for the gentleman in the Walmart parking lot this afternoon.

For more Gratituesday post visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Super Easy Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup

This soup is a family favorite. Not only is it YUMMY, but it is a great way to use up the leftover veggies in the fridge. And best of all it takes no time to prepare. Serve it with rolls, biscuits, or cornbread and you have a wonderful warm and tasty meal. This makes a nice big pot of soup, unfortunately I only was able to snap a picture of the leftovers. When we got home from skiing the kids beat me to the pot.
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • 1 Tbsp chicken or beef broth powder (omit if using stock)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup or homemade alternative
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown ground meat and onions until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add to crockpot. add remaining ingredients, stir. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

If you brown your meat and freeze it in advance this meal is so quick to throw together. I also like to clean out the fridge of any leftover veggie and rice. The picture above had some left over mixed veggies which explains the Lima beans you can see. We also like to sprinkle cheese on top.

This Weeks Menu

Breakfast: Eggs, Toast and Homemade Turkey Sausage
Lunch: Seafood Chowder
Dinner: Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy, Fried Potatoes, & Corn

Lunch: Quesadillas & Peaches
Dinner: Stuffed Peppers, Garlic Bread, & Tossed Salad

Breakfast: Cold Cereal
Lunch: Tuna Melt with Carrot and Celery Sticks
Dinner: Macaroni & Cheese with Ham & Peas

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Ski Day Picnic (Hummus, Veggie Stick, Cheese, Crackers & Fruit)
Dinner: Crock Pot Beef Stew

Breakfast: Cold Cereal
Lunch: Girls are at a friend's house, Mom gets a picnic to take to Jury Duty.
Dinner: International Night Pot Luck

Breakfast: Pancakes & Bacon
Lunch: Homeschool Sledding Day Hot Dog Roast
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Dinner: Leftovers after Church

For more menu planning ideas visit the Organizing Junkie.